Thursday, October 13, 2011

Over the Top





Thanks to Booksneeze/Thomas Nelson Publisher, I was given 2 free tickets to the Women of Faith 2011 event, "Over the Top" at Rose Garden Arena in Portland. My mother-in-law and I had an absolutely blessed time this past weekend (Oct. 7th and 8th). It's my first time!

"This weekend we're celebrating the unrestrained, outrageous, wildly passionate love God has for each of us. He pours out mercy in a flood. He loves us more than we know. He gives us more than we can ask or dream. He is Over the Top." ~Mary Graham

The worship was awesome! I really enjoyed the worship time...focusing on God's amazing love. It was so cool to sing praises to God along with ~7,000 other women. The worship team included Jovaun Woods from New Orleans, Louisiana; Michelle Swift from Portland, Oregon; Hope Darst from Nashville, Tennessee; and Kara Tualatai from Westlake, California. They had fabulous voices and they truly used them for God's glory. The host, Lori Robertson, was very sweet and gracious. Wow...it was such a treat to hear and learn from all the wonderful speakers.

Patsy Clairmont: I love Patsy Clairmont! She made me think and laugh at the same time :). Some nuggets of truths from Patsy include "Life is messy." "Love is a choice." "Change can be good." "We are created with the will that's stronger than emotions."

Andy Andrews: I've read some of Andy Andrews' books (The Noticer, The Butterfly Effect, and The Boy Who Changed the World). He's a gifted author and a hyperactive motivational speaker :). Here are some cool stuff he shared: "Fear is the misuse of creative imagination." "Boundaries are made not to restrict but to protect." "Smile when you talk."

 Me and Andy Andrews autographing The Noticer for me

Marilyn Meberg: Who would have expected this 72 year old lady to have a need for speed :)? She quoted one of my favorite St. Augustine's quotes: "You God, created us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You."

Sandi Patty: Sandi Patty gave us a chill with her powerful voice singing "We Shall Behold Him." She shared her heart with us about her weight problem. So transparent and so encouraging! She also introduced us to her pals on the "Porch".

Lisa Whelchel: Lisa talked about friendships for grown-ups. It was hard to imagine someone beautiful and famous like her having trouble finding friends. But real friends are indeed difficult to come by.

Brenda Warner: What a roller-coaster life she has had! Courage, honor, and integrity never leave her. She is usually known as Kurt Warner's wife. She's very spunky :).

These outstanding speakers shared their life stories, lessons they learned, and words of wisdom. We soaked it all in. They shared their brokenness and pointed to God's restoration. Their faith helped them get through their struggles. We appreciated their authenticity. We witnessed how God used imperfect broken people to spread the message of His love.

Deborah Joy Winans (Cece Winans' niece) gave a funny skit about a mom wearing different hats. Mandisa blessed us with her beautiful heart and voice. You could see her love for God shine through and through. I was thrilled to see/hear Selah, one of my favorite Christian bands. I never get tired of hearing "You Raise Me Up" by Selah. Todd Smith even got the speakers up on stage to dance while he sang an African praise song. Lots of fun! Amy Perry was beautiful inside and out. Her voice was outstanding. Allan Hall entertained us with the 80's piano music. Go Selah!

I was really glad to see World Vision being promoted during the event. My family and I have been long-time supporters of World Vision and I used to work for World Vision in Thailand while my husband volunteered there.

During breaks, we women had fun browsing and shopping at Women of Faith products booths. I bought 2 Selah CDs and my mother-in-law bought a stack of books and a DVD.
My mother-in-law and I were very thankful for this wonderful experience. Certainly over the top! So much food for thought. Such a refreshing weekend! Our seats were on the fourth row on the floor next to the stage. I only wish they would allow photography (during the event) :). Well, I did take a few shots of the empty stage in different lights. Pretty, don't you think?

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